The Marne


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Ever since the age of six Troy Belknap of New York had embarked for Europe every June on the fastest steamer of one or another of the most expensive lines. With his family he had descended at the dock from a large noiseless motor, had kissed his father good-bye, turned back to shake hands with the chauffeur (a particular friend), and trotted up the gang-plank behind his mother's maid, while one welcoming steward captured Mrs. Belknap's bag, and another led away her miniature French bull-dog — also a particular friend of Troy's. From that hour all had been delight. For six golden days Troy had ranged the decks, Splashed in the blue salt water brimming his huge porcelain tub, lunched and dined with the grown-ups in the Ritz restaurant, and swaggered about in front of the children who had never crossed before, and didn't know the stewards, or the purser, or the captain's cat, or on which deck you might exercise your dog, or how to induce the officer on the watch to let you scramble up for a minute to the bridge. Then, when these joys began to pall, he had lost himself in others deeper and dearer. Another of his cronies, the library steward, had nu locked the book-case doors for him, and, buried for hours in the depths of a huge library armchair (there weren't any to compare with it on land), he had ranged through the length and breadth of several literatures. These six days of bliss would have been too soon over if they had not been the mere prelude to intenser sensations. On the seventh morning — generally at Cherbourg — Troy Belknap followed his mother, and his mother's maid, and the French bull, up the gang-plank and into another large noiseless motor, with another chauffeur (french, this one) to whom he was also deeply attached, and who sat grinning and cap-touching at the wheel. And then — ih a few minutes, so swiftly and smilingly was the way of Mrs. Belknap smoothed the noiseless motor was off, and they were rushing eastward through the orchards of Normandy.

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